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Learning Center

How Watches Work Glossary of Watch Terms Automatic Watch Maintenance
Find the Perfect Watch Sizing Your Watch Care & Cleaning
FAQs Buying Guide Water Resistance and Watches


  • How do I know my watch is authentic?
  • What’s the difference between quartz and mechanical/automatic movements?
  • How do watches work?
  • Are watches really waterproof?
  • What’s the difference between a chronograph and a chronometer?
  • How long should the battery in my watch last?
  • What’s a crystal?
  • Is it better to get a leather band or a metal one?
  • What’s the best way to clean my watch?

    Some of the questions we receive from our customers regarding watches are answered below. If you cannot find an awnser to your question below send us an Online Inquiry and receive a prompt reply from one of our trained experts or call our Customer Service Representatives at 1-866-752-3681. You can also visit our Customer Service page for general info regarding shipping, returns,etc.

    How do I know my watch is authentic?
    Each watch that sells is guaranteed to be genuine, authentic and new (unless otherwise noted). We include a Certificate of Authenticity with every watch purchased. All our watches are also backed by our Limited Warranty.

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    What’s the difference between quartz and mechanical/automatic movements?
    The movement, or inner workings, of the watch are what make up the main timekeeping mechanism. Most watches have either a quartz movement or a mechanical movement. The type of movement you choose depends mostly on one's taste. Mechanical movements are a tribute to the watchmaker's art and monitor the passage of time by a series of gear mechanisms. When a mechanical movement does not have to be wound, it is known as an automatic movement. These self-winding movements are wound by the movement of your wrist. (No, you don't have to shake it to work! The normal, everyday movement of the watch on your wrist charges the winding reserve.) When this type of watch is removed from your wrist, the movement winds down in 10 to 72 hours, depending on the size of its winding reserve.

    Quartz movements, on the other hand, are powered by a battery and do not stop working once removed from your wrist. When activated by a battery or solar power, the thin sliver of crystal very predictably vibrates at an extremely high frequency (32,768 times per second), thus providing very accurate timekeeping. The battery in a quartz watch generally needs to be replaced every 1.5 years.

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    How do watches work?
    Watches essentially tell time by the integration of three main components: an energy source, a time regulating mechanism and a display. The energy source can be electronic (as in a battery) or mechanical (as in a wound spring). A watch’s main timekeeping mechanism is called its movement. Today’s watches fall into two categories: Mechanical movements and Quartz movements. Mechanical watches are made up of about 130 parts that work together to tell time. Automatic mechanical movements mark the passage of time by a series of gear mechanisms, and are wound by the movement of your wrist as you wear it. The gear train then transmits the power to the escapement, which distributes the impulses, turning the balance wheel. The balance wheel is the time regulating organ of a mechanical watch, which vibrates on a spiral hairspring. Lengthening or shortening the balance spring makes the balance wheel go faster or slower to advance or retard the watch. The travel of the balance wheel from one extreme to the other and back again is called oscillation. A series of gears, called the dial train, then turns the hands on the watch face. Click here for automatic watch instructions.

    Quartz watches work with a series of electronic components, all fitting together in a tiny space. Rather than a spring, a quartz watch relies on a battery for its energy. The battery sends electrical energy to a quartz crystal, which vibrates at an incredibly high frequency (32,768 times a second), providing highly accurate timekeeping. This energy is then transmitted via a stepping motor, which transforms the electrical impulses into mechanical power, turning the gear train, which moves the hands on the watch face. For more detailed information on how watches work, along with descriptions of their parts, visit our Learning Center.

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    Are watches really waterproof?
    No. In fact, they aren’t. It is actually illegal to represent a watch as being “water-proof”. Watches, however, can be water-resistant. In fact, most watches have some sort of water-resistance. A watch marked as water resistant without a depth indication is designed to withstand accidental splashes of water only. Do not submerge such a watch. Higher levels of water resistance are indicated by increasingly higher acceptable depths, usually indicated in meters.

    There are a variety of ways to make a watch water resistant. All such watches use rubber gaskets or "O" rings to seal the case back. A watch with a back that screws onto the case provides a higher degree of water resistance. Some crowns (the "winding stem") actually screw into the case to further increase water resistance.

    Usage Recommendations

    The following usage recommendations are suggested by the Seiko Corporation of America.

    • Water-resistant to 30 meters (100 feet). Will withstand splashes of water or rain but should not be worn while swimming or diving.
    • Water-tested to 50 meters (165 feet). Suitable for showering or swimming in shallow water.
    • Water-tested to 100 meters (330 feet). Suitable for swimming and snorkeling.
    • Water-tested to 150 meters (500 feet). Suitable for snorkeling.
    • Water-tested to 200 meters (660 feet). Suitable for skin diving.
    • Diver's 150 meters (500 feet). Meets ISO standards and is suitable for scuba diving.
    • Diver's 200 meters (660 feet). Meets ISO standards and is suitable for scuba diving.
    Please note that we do not recommend swimming or diving with your watch unless it has a screw-down crown (also known as ‘screw-lock’ or ‘screw-in’ crown) and is water-resistant to at least 100 meters.

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    What’s the difference between a chronograph and a chronometer?
    A chronograph is a name given to a multifunction sport watch with a stopwatch function. Most have two or three sub-dials, or mini-dials, for measuring minutes and hours. A chronometer, on the other hand, is a precision watch that has been rigorously tested by the Control Officile Suisse de Chronometers (COSC), an official watch testing laboratory in Switzerland, to keep accurate time in various temperatures and positions over a 15-day period. The watch must lose no more than five seconds per day in order to be designated a chronometer.

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    How long should the battery in my watch last?
    Generally, the battery in a quartz watch will need to be replaced every 1.5 years.

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    What’s a crystal?
    The clear cover over the watch face is called the crystal. Three types of crystals are commonly found in watches: Acrylic crystal is an inexpensive plastic that allows shallow scratches to be buffed out. Mineral crystal is composed of several elements that are heat-treated to create an unusual hardness that aids in resisting scratches. Sapphire crystal is the most expensive and durable, approximately three times harder than mineral crystals and 20 times harder than acrylic crystals. A non-reflective coating on some sport styles prevents glare.

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    Is it better to get a leather band or a metal one?
    Strap watches may have bands made from a variety of materials, including leathers, exotic skins and synthetics. In general, it’s best to avoid fine leathers if you will expose the watch to water or perspiration from physical activity. Rubber straps are a little more durable against water and perspiration. Do keep in mind, that if you do not like a certain strap on a watch, it’s relatively inexpensive and easy to replace the band with one of many varieties, textures and colors. Metal bands are called ‘bracelets’, and are available in various metals, including gold, platinum, stainless steel and titanium. Some manufacturers have styles that combine two kinds of metals, such as gold and steel, which are known as two-tone bracelets. The choice is really a matter of personal taste. Generally speaking, strap watches are viewed as a more casual fashion statement, although they can be very attractive and quite costly.

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    What’s the best way to care for and clean my watch?
    The best way to clean your watch is by using a lint-free cloth and a toothpick. Use the toothpick to clean out any dirt buildup in the bracelet or casing of the watch and the cloth to wipe it clean. If it is water-resistant, give it an occasional cleaning with a mixture of warm water and a mild soap. If the strap is leather or non-metal, clean only the case. For more information, visit our Back to Top

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